If most of your business comes from local shoppers and other local businesses, or if you are trying to increase your local market share, there’s a few things you can easily do that will better your chances of being found on local searches.
For instance, when someone Googles “widgets pittsburgh”, there are a variety of ways search engines display results — how can you make your website appear in those local results?
These easy tasks are the top five things I do when helping small businesses compete for traffic online.
1. Claim Local Listings
By claiming your local listing in Google Places or Bing Local Listing Center, you have more control over how your company is displayed and what keyword search terms will trigger your website to appear in the results. When you claim your listing, you can enter your business categories (hint: use your top keywords as categories).
If your business has multiple locations, you can also upload the addresses to other business locations. And you can post coupons and specials through Google Places, as well as pay for sponsored ads.
2. Use Local Keywords on Your Webpage Title Tags
Within the HTML of your website are title tags for each of your pages. Placing keywords such as “Pittsburgh Widgets” in your title tags can help search engines determine where you are located, and therefore, rank your website for searches within your location.
3. List Your Business (and address) on Directories & Review Websites
Set up your business profile in local directories like SuperPages.com, CitySearch.com, Local.com and review websites like Yelp and Angie’s List.
Having your address and business profile on sites such as these indicates to search engines that your business is in the city/state that you say it is in. It is good to have links back to your websites, if possible, but even if the directories do not link back to your website, the citations about your business still play a factor. Read David Mihm’s blog post on why citations are the new link.
4. Use a Local Phone Number
Search engines can tell where you are by your area code, and place even more importance on your phone number if it is consistent across the web.
5. Ask Clients/Customers to Rate Your Products/Services Online
Once you’ve set up your profiles on business review sites, ask your customers if they could rate your products or services, or fill out the Google Places review with a great testimonial. Make it easy for them, by sending them the link or giving them clear instructions.
Search engines (especially Google!) do not trust what YOU say about your website — that’s why client testimonials and reviews are so important. Also, LINKS.
How is Your Website Ranking (or Not Ranking)?
The above is a handful of easy and quick things I recommend every local business do to start increasing their local traffic and ranking higher in local listings — what are some factors you see in playing a role in local search?